REPORT ON: “Kilmer Creek Re-Alignment in the District of North Vancouver: Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process for Financial Valuation” (Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC; released June 2020)
NOTE TO READER:
Under the umbrella of the Georgia Basin Inter-Regional Education Initiative, the report on Kilmer Creek is the 4th in a series about demonstration applications for testing, refining and mainstreaming the “Ecological Accounting Process (EAP) – A BC Process for Community Investment in the Natural Commons”.
The EAP program is multi-year (2016-2021) and multi-stage to test (Stage 1), refine (Stage 2) and mainstream (Stage 3) the EAP methodology and metrics. The Stage 2 applications are Shelly Creek in the City of Parksville and Regional District of Nanaimo, and Kilmer Creek in the District of North Vancouver. The Kilmer findings are introduced in the article below.
Kilmer Creek is a 1st order stream and is part of the Hastings Creek watershed in the Lynn Valley area of North Vancouver. Based on area, the upper two-thirds is forested mountainside. In the urbanized lower one-third, decades of land use decisions have materially altered the natural drainage system.
This EAP Demonstration Application was undertaken in collaboration with the District of North Vancouver; and was jointly funded by the District of North Vancouver, UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities), the provincial government, and the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.
ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING: How streams influence neighbourhoods and property values
“EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is a pragmatic ‘made in BC’ approach to valuation of the ecological services supplied by a stream (one of our most common ecological systems). Think of it as a decision support tool for use by the community and local government,” stated Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia.
“EAP addresses this question: How do communities decide how much to invest in the natural commons? The EAP methodology and metrics enable a local government to determine the WORTH of the natural commons, with ‘worth’ being the foundation for an annual budget for maintenance and maintenance of ecological assets.
“EAP is an initiative of the Partnership for Water Sustainability. EAP considers the system as a whole, takes into account social values, and is guided by how the community uses the natural commons, including influences on nearby parcel values.”
Terminology is Important
“The report also introduces new terminology – such as, the NATURAL COMMONS ASSET. The NCA is the portion of the stream defined by the set-back area required by streamside protection regulations. Often the NCA is augmented by contiguous natural area, such as parkland. This larger area is the Natural Commons Area.
“In addition, the report emphasizes the acronym M&M to draw attention to the distinction between these objectives as strategies: MAINTENANCE, which means ‘prevent degradation’; and MANAGEMENT, which means ‘improve the condition’.
“The Kilmer Creek report would inform those who wish to get serious about valuing and incorporating riparian ecological assets and services into asset management strategies and plans. The ultimate desired outcome in applying EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is that science-based actions would be implemented to reconnect hydrology and ecology in the built environment. Once restored, hydrologic function would support sustainable M&M of riparian ecological services.”
TO LEARN MORE:
To read the report in its entirety, download a copy of Kilmer Creek Re-Alignment in the District of North Vancouver: Assessing the Worth of Ecological Services Using the Ecological Accounting Process for Financial Valuation.
Creek Daylighting is an Opportunity for Restoration of the Natural Commons in an Older Neighbourhood of Lynn Valley
“Pending redevelopment of Argyle Secondary School adjacent to Kilmer Creek has opened the door to creek daylighting and realignment. This provides the opportunity to address ecological and conveyance deficiencies in a section of the stream where pre-1960s land use decisions removed the riparian functions,” continued Tim Pringle, EAP Chair.
“The research question that we addressed in the Kilmer EAP analysis is this: What impact does the stream as an ecological system (as a natural commons) have on neighbourhoods and nearby residential parcels (land only); and, does the stream influence the utility and financial value of parcels?”
Lower Kilmer Restoration in a Lynn Valley Context:
“Two school frontages abut the stream. They account for 55% of the channel length through the area developed prior to streamside regulation. Thus, culvert daylighting plus channel realignment through school lands represent the single, most favourable opportunity to achieve stream restoration in the context of redevelopment in one of the older urban areas of Lynn Valley.
“Stream restoration would enable the school district to fulfill a compelling social obligation, and that is, to recognize its responsibility to support maintenance and management of Kilmer Creek as a natural commons.”